Deidre DeJear will be a terrific secretary of state candidate

Watch out, Paul Pate: Deidre DeJear just won the Democratic nomination for secretary of state. She will be a terrific candidate in the general election.

Commentary about DeJear has often focused on her potential to make history. She is the first African American nominated by a major party for a statewide office in Iowa. That is obviously significant in a state where white people have long dominated government. But DeJear brings much more to the ticket than diversity.

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How one Iowa candidate with small kids could make a big difference

Running for office is time-consuming and expensive. Even a local race involves so many tasks, only some of which can be delegated to staff or volunteers. Some political junkies aren’t cut out for knocking thousands of doors, asking supporters for money, and attending community events several nights a week. Others have strong skills, work ethic, and the desire to serve, but can’t see a way to juggle the demands of a campaign with family responsibilities.

Some Iowa candidate has an opportunity to make running for office a more realistic option for them.

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A Des Moines principal's heartfelt message to immigrant students

“Tonight I feel compelled to discuss something that’s been weighing on my mind heavily,” said Des Moines Roosevelt High School principal Kevin Biggs in a recorded message to students, parents, and guardians on January 12.

Without referring to President Donald Trump or his widely reported comments denigrating immigrants from “shithole countries” and Haitians specifically, Biggs went on to emphasize his pride in the diversity of the Roosevelt student body and the staff’s support for refugees, immigrants, and students of color. “To our Haitian students,” he added, “you are a valuable part of our community, and you’ve elevated the strength of our building simply with your presence.” The principal also promised “those of you who have traveled across oceans to experience the American dream, we’re here for you, too.”

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Why I am working with the Latino Political Network

Thanks to Hazel Posada for sharing her experience with the Latino Political Network. -promoted by desmoinesdem

My name is Hazel Posada and I currently reside in Des Moines, Iowa. I am student at Des Moines Area Community College and I work full time. I am very passionate about human rights and social justice and helping people in my community the most I can. I’m developing myself personally and professionally as a participant of the class of 2017 Latina Leadership Initiative of Greater Des Moines.

I am the daughter of immigrant parents who came to this country in the early 1990’s for an opportunity to a better life and a shot at the American dream. My father fled his country of El Salvador from the aftermath of the Civil War between military-led government and political organizations. My mother migrated from Mexico to the U.S. looking for a better quality of life and to escape poverty and government corruption. They have taught me to never give up and always work hard to achieve my goals. Both of them are very supportive in my career goals and push me to be a role model citizen in my community.

Through the Latina Leadership Initiative, I chose to work with Rob Barron and Omar Padilla from the Latino Political Network (LPN) for my community service project. I have always been interested in engaging socially in my community and bringing people together, but the mission and goal of LPN is what brought me to join this organization.

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Post Election: Architects Struggle to Address Equity and Sustainability

Steve Wilke-Shapiro, a Des Moines-based architect with a passion for historic preservation and sustainable development, shares how Donald Trump’s victory has divided the community of architects. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Architecture is an odd profession. We fancy ourselves as masters of a universe where the smallest details (the edge around a door frame, for example) have meaning. We talk to each other about Design as if buildings themselves were sentient: “I don’t think that window wants to stretch all the way up to the ceiling.”

We don’t do this to be elitist and self-absorbed, though many an architect has been justly accused of nurturing an overdeveloped ego. Rather, we honestly believe in design as a tool for enhancing the human experience. We have the privilege of influencing the disposition of huge amounts of capital and human energy. We believe that through design, we can be agents of positive social change.

To some extent, the architect is by definition “progressive.” Our job is to alter the world, to imagine things that have never been and then describe them to others so that those things can be made real. There is an element of hope in every line we draw that our work will change the world for the better, and a sense of value in discharging this responsibility.

Yet architecture is also a conservative venture. There is a huge weight in the fact that our decisions have broad implications for our clients, our businesses, our reputations. Our creativity is circumscribed by a framework of building codes, financial, and logistical constraints. Despite our best efforts to fight these forces of inertia, there are tangible negative effects. We are as a profession too accepting of mediocre design (it pays the bills). Our leadership is measurably whiter than the American population as a whole, and primarily male. The “entry fee” to become an architect requires substantial investment in education followed by arduous and expensive licensing hurdles, both of which tend to favor people with middle- to upper-income resources. These qualities breed a resistance to institutional change.

Architecture is also highly sensitive to cycles largely outside our control: economic, environmental, and social. This season however, it is of course politics, not design that has driven a wedge into the profession.

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